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Available Technologies

Title Date Posted Patent Information Sort descending Opportunity
Metal-organic Framework Films for Gas Sensor Applications U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes a system and method for rapid, ambient-temperature growth of metal-organic framework (MOF) films for gas sensor applications. More specifically, the invention relates to growth of MOF films on advanced sensor devices such as distributed optical fiber and passive wireless like surface acoustic wave-based sensors. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

MOF thin films have emerged as particularly attractive candidates for gas sensing applications due to their tunable porosity and pore size, enabling them to be rationally designed to selectively absorb specific gasses of interest. MOFs are especially appealing due to their high selectivity and capacity for energy-relevant gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane. A critical step towards the development of MOF thin film devices is the ability to efficiently and reliably incorporate high-quality MOF layers onto a wide range of substrates like optical fibers. However, current techniques are often inconvenient due to long reaction times, heating requirements, equipment costs and/or poor control over crystal coverage and morphology.

Microwave Diagnostics and Passive Sensors for Pipeline, Well-Bore, and Boiler-Tube Monitoring U.S. Patent Pending

The invention is a system and method for monitoring the interior of metallic tubular structures like pipelines, well-bores, and boiler-tubes using an integrated wireless system. The technology uses a combination of the pipe or tubular structure as a wave guide, integrated radio frequency (RF) patch antennas, integrated passive surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensors, and data analytic methodologies. The technology is available for licensing from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

Safety and longevity are major concerns in fossil fuel industries and other technologies that use long metallic tubular structures like gas pipelines, well-bores, and boilers. Real time monitoring of the tubular structures for multiple variables within them, including but not limited to corrosion, leaks, and mass flow, is crucial to ensure safety and cost-effective maintenance in timely manner. Conventional techniques for investigating the state-of-health and operational conditions of tubular structures use non-destructive acoustic-based techniques, which are limited by the ability to interpret the data because, as an indirect measurement, requires models to be made of the infrastructure under investigation.

Stable Immobilized Amine Sorbents for the De-Coloration of Waste Waters U.S. Patent Pending

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has developed a system and method for combining polyamines, which immobilizes the dye-absorbing amine sites within low cost, porous silica particles. The innovation has the potential to remove organic-based colorants and pollutants from different water sources. This invention is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from NETL

High-Temperature Sensors for Monitoring and Control of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells U.S. Patent Pending

Research is active on the application of embedded optical fiber based sensors to an operational solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) in conjunction with high-temperature stable distributed interrogation approaches to allow for local monitoring of the absolute value and spatial gradient of the chemical composition and temperature of an anode or cathode stream.

Low-Cost Optical Sensor Array to Monitor Temperature and Dissolved Gases in Electrical Assets U.S. Patent Pending

The invention is a new low-cost way to form an optical sensor array that monitors multiple parameters such as temperature and hydrogen in essential components of electrical transmission and distribution networks. It uses multi-wavelength interrogation combined with multiple sensor elements using a single optical fiber. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

Power transformers are among the most essential components of electrical transmission and distribution networks. To avoid the substantial financial and social expenses caused by catastrophic failures, there is a growing need to develop low-cost and real-time analytical techniques and instruments to detect and diagnose fundamental changes in the operating characteristics of transformers. Key parameters, such as dissolved gases content and temperature, provide valuable information for assessing the condition of transformers. For example, dissolved gas analysis (DGA) identifies electrical or thermal faults in transformers. In addition, temperature information is vital because when the temperature in transformers exceeds 90o C, the aging rate of insulation and tensile strength grows, resulting in a dramatic deterioration of transformer life expectancy. It is therefore of significant value to monitor the temperature under various ambient and loading conditions to identify failures before they result in significant damages. 

Energy Infrastructure Monitoring using Conformal Coaxial Helical Antennas and Distributed Electromagnetic Interrogation Schemes U.S. Patent Pending

The invention is a distributed radio frequency (RF) /electromagnetic (EM) interrogation scheme that leverages distributed antennas along a coaxial cable for subsurface, pipeline, and other energy infrastructure monitoring. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge: 
In industrial and wireless sensing, the communication channel often determines the characteristics and performance of the overall sensing network. For wellbore monitoring applications, telemetry challenges are acute because of harsh environmental conditions (elevated temperature and pressure, chemical corrosives) which restrict the application of complex electronics and instrumentation. In addition, inherent absorption of electromagnetic radiation within the subsurface environment limits the potential for free space wireless power and signal delivery over distances. However, distributed wireless sensors throughout the subsurface environment could provide unprecedent visibility for monitoring and minimizing environmental impacts associated with the wellbore and ensure safe and productive operation of oil and gas recovery processes, enhanced geothermal systems and carbon storage sites.  Similar needs exist for monitoring of natural gas pipelines and other energy infrastructure for which enhanced visibility can significantly impact reliability, resiliency, and security. 
 

Encapsulation Method for More Durable Reactive Materials U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes a method of encapsulating reactive materials (i.e., catalyst, sorbent or oxygen carrier) within a porous, unreactive, strong outer layer to increase attrition resistance while retaining sufficient reactivity. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

Processes that involve fluidized bed or transport reactors require pellets with high attrition resistance because the pellets move continuously in the reactor during operation. Loss of pellets due to attrition contributes to high replacement costs and operational difficulties. Most processes that involve catalyst, sorbents and oxygen carriers operate in fluidized beds or circulating fluidized beds and require high attrition resistance for long-term operations. In addition, loss of reactive materials with low melting points, such as CuO, due to agglomeration is an issue. Pellets with high attrition resistance are needed to combat against loss of reactive materials.

Streamlining The Process To Extract Lithium, Rare Earth Elements From Natural Brines U.S. Patent Pending

Research is active on the development and refinement of a process for the extraction of lithium (Li) and rare earth elements (REEs) from natural brines. This invention is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

Current leading technology to generate materials from natural brines requires a series of football field-sized slow evaporation ponds, as well as lengthy leaching, which takes approximately 18-24 months after leaving the well. Concentration processes of the selected materials require repeated pumping from one evaporation pond to another, followed by long-distance transportation (added expenses and carbon emissions) to a processing plant that generates the selected compounds by multiple carbonation steps by leaching. Current carbonation processes require various solid additives, including soda ash, lime, hydrochloric acid, organic solvent, sulfuric acid and alcohol. Several tons of additives may be required to produce only a ton of targeted material. Therefore, current operations are considered to be costly and environmentally harsh.

Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Carbon Monoxide or Synthesis Gas by Reforming or Gasification Using Oxygen Carriers/Catalysts U.S. Patent Pending

Research is active on the development of metal ferrite oxygen carriers/catalysts for use in processes that convert carbon dioxide (CO2) to carbon monoxide (CO) or synthesis gas by reforming or gasification. This invention is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

A variety of approaches have been employed to harness CO2 activation in order to produce useful products for chemical processes and to control greenhouse gas emissions. These approaches include catalytic dry reforming of methane, chemical looping dry reforming of fuel, and coal gasification with CO2.

CO and synthesis gas are very useful precursors for various chemical processes and can be used as a fuel for energy production. In catalytic dry reforming, the production of syngas from CO2 and methane is achieved in the presence of a catalyst that offers several advantages, such as mitigation of greenhouse gases emissions and conversion of CO2 and methane into syngas which can be used to produce valuable downstream chemicals. In chemical looping dry reforming, oxygen from an oxygen carrier or metal oxide is used for partial combustion of methane or coal to produce syngas or CO. The reduced oxygen carrier is then oxidized using CO2 to produce CO and oxidized oxygen carrier. In coal gasification with CO2, production of syngas from coal is achieved through the reaction of coal with CO2 instead of air or steam, which can be enhanced by the presence of metal oxide/metal promoters. Since the gasification process does not require steam, significant cost reductions would be expected. However, finding low-cost and efficient catalysts/oxygen carriers for these processes has been a major challenge, limiting their commercial success.

Integration of Thermal Energy Storage into Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Systems U.S. Patent Pending

Research is active on the design and development of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) systems featuring thicker interconnects for increased thermal energy storage. A large amount of heat can then be extracted from the interconnects and used to quickly increase the electric load in a hybrid power system. This invention is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).